“King James IV & I Oak Portrait Two”
“King James IV & I Oak Portrait Two” [18th/19th May 2023] by Matt The Unfathomable Artist, sketch with H, HB, 4B, 8B and sky-blue pencil, signed in black ink on 280gsm 250mm x 300mm gesso primed canvas [pad], digitally edited image 3176 x 2749 pixels.

“King James IV & I Oak Portrait Two” [shown above] was produced in two drafts.  The first draft took 28 minutes 58 seconds.  The second (final) draft next day took 7 minutes 40 seconds, tidying a few branches and adding further depth to leaves.  A total of just under thirty-seven (37) minutes in all. I promptly signed the artwork afterwards.

The photograph was taken on 19th May 2020, three years ago precisely. I published those Oak photographs on my blog that very day. You can see those photographs by clicking the link here https://theunfathomableartist.wordpress.com/2020/05/19/conservation-local-nature-reserve/.

This sketch is very much as successful for its quickness and quality to produce as “Leafy Hollow”. You can see “Leafy Hollow” by clicking the link here https://theunfathomableartist.wordpress.com/2022/06/26/leafy-hollow/.

Each artist has their own ‘standard’ in terms of quality. For me, “Leafy Hollow” and this sketch “King James IV & I Oak Portrait Two” exemplify a ‘perfect’ artwork near effortlessly with regards to the time taken to complete from start to finish.

I view these visual works for the speed they are produced similar to an artist writing a chart topping song in 20 minutes.

To understand my reasoning here, it took me hours upon hours to get “Malevolence upon Trees” to the standard I hold every.. single.. time.. for my artworks. You can see “Malevolence upon Trees” here https://theunfathomableartist.wordpress.com/2021/04/24/malevolence-upon-trees/. The intricacy and complexity of the latters pencil work is clear though through all those extra hours.

Personally I happily delight whenever an artwork reaches ‘the standard’ much more quickly. This is more about efficiency as an artist than anything else. I noted Andy Warhol’s interest to produce masterpieces quickly. So too Basquiat and Monet.

Therefore I have sought to somehow emulate this work ethic when producing new pieces, if possible.

For instance, a professional actor can often absorb lines they need to learn for a role very quickly. Whereas an untrained person would take much longer to do so accurately. We could imagine professional translators and PA’s having a comparable ability. As an artist I view the swiftness of my working as part of the profession itself.

Of course, such beauties as the Sistine Chapel, time-honoured sculptures and Realist oils should not be hastily made. Often impressive intricacy and complexity requires reasonable time.

Here is the photograph inspiration for my latest sketch:

“King James IV & I Oak Portrait Two – photograph” [19th May 2020] by Matt The Unfathomable Artist.

I entitled my latest sketch as ‘Portrait Two’ since I class “James I IV Oak – Autumn Landscape” [27th June 2022] as the first ‘portrait’ of this magnificent 1612 Oak tree. Whereby both sketches do not feature as part of a wider Landscape composition.

Hope you enjoy.

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